When it comes to supporting new products over the long run, it’s not so much about innovation as “renovation,” according to a panel at SNAC International’s Executive Leadership Forum (ELF), held Sept 27-29 in Amelia Island, Fla.

Some companies evaluate their new products regularly, and others even do it to existing products and brands every three years, according to the panel, which included leading snack manufacturers and retailers.

“How do we take some of the core needs that consumers are looking for and actually renovate our key brands?” asked Carlos Abrams-Rivera, president, Campbell Snacks, Campbell Soup Co.

Mike Sherlock, senior vice-president and chief product marketing officer, Wawa, Inc., said the convenience store chain assesses every new product routinely and then tweaks it based on feedback.

“After a product is launched, we evaluate it six months later and then a year later, we take key learning documents to refine the product and make sure we’re continually improving it through an ongoing process,” he told ELF attendees.

Wawa also reexamines in-and-out products to see if it should bring them into regular distribution. Food companies also need to be discriminating about what they put on the shelf, said Lisa Walsh, chief executive officer of Truco Enterprises.

“Manufacturers need to look in the mirror and determine if they are supporting products that might not have the highest velocity or may be taking away momentum from another product that could have higher velocity,” she said.

That’s all great advice when launching new products — and keeping a company’s product portfolio fresh.